02 May Social Media for resistant – 5 proven tips for practice’s Facebook fanpage
You can not advertise in veterinary medicine, we do not have to repeat it to anyone. However, use social media – as much as possible. Social media are a great channel not only for communication with clients, documentation of our work, image building but also acquiring new clients.
If your boss is sceptical about running a clinic fanpage – it’s time to let him know that in 2018 it’s an absolute must! However, it does not finish on setting it up – regular posting and interaction with your fans are key to building a trusted local community. Social media, as the name suggests, are something that connects people, entertains, informs. It is said to be a free advertisement – however, there are doctors who think that Facebook only has information functions.
We have analysed many veterinary fanpages from around the world and we have collected the most important rules for running a fanpage in a nutshell. By following our advice, you will be able to create a consistent image of the clinic on Facebook, improve communication with clients, and build a committed community of loyal fans.
1. Cute puppies and fluffy kittens
Yes, we will not beat around the bush – these are the most “selling” themes. Why do people go on Facebook? Unfortunately, not to read about TTA Rapid or the life cycle of the tick. Social media is primarily meant to entertain, evoke positive emotions, make time more pleasant, connect with the community. That’s why your photos and descriptions of sweet, beloved, fluffy babies coming to you for vaccination or deworming will be a great element in building your image of animal-loving experts. What’s more, it’s worth taking a picture of yourself and your little patient. (author’s note: These types of photos are the most engaged in my Instagram @vetnolimits account). Remember, however, not to overdo it with a sweetness (cuteness overload) and skillfully balance furries (keep the balance between species), informative content, interesting cases, posts from the life of the clinic and others.
The secret is to try to put yourself in the shoes of the owner of the animal and to feel what content is most interesting to him. In spite of our sincere intentions, the post about using the latest laser scalpel technology during surgical procedures in our clinic will not arouse interest such as the story of an abandoned cat, whom we saved the life and found a new home.
2. A good photo or none
In addition to posts aimed at educating the owners, it is worth remembering the relevant photographs. When conducting our social media workshops, we always repeat – the pictures should be: SHARP, LIT and WELL-CROPPED. Making a sharp photo of a puppy is difficult but not impossible. It is worth getting a little tired to get nice effects that will pay off in the form of engagement under the post – the owners will happily share this picture, proud of their little companion. If your photo does not meet the above requirements – it’s a waste of your time. If you have a bad camera in your phone – leave it, it’s a better idea to take it with DSLR.
3. Get involved, comment, answer
If someone leaves you a comment, his hidden expectation will be your answer. Thanks to this, your fans will feel a real bond with the clinic. Commenting on their photos will also increase the quality of your online relationship, which may translate into a desire to visit your clinic. The key for the Facebook algorithm and displaying your post above in the feed is to respond efficiently to comments. Netiquette commits to reply to the comment within a maximum of 24 hours.
If the owner of the animal you take care of likes your fanpage, it will be good to post and comment on posts about his pet. It strengthens the bond between you and leads to greater online engagement and, as a result, makes your image look authentic in the eyes of other animal owners. Because veterinary services based on the relationship is what the client of the clinic expects.
The case is much easier when you deal with a positive comment. You can read how to deal with negative ones and bad reviews in our article “Help, haters attack! How to deal with online image crisis?”.
4. Look at the statistics and learn from them!
Facebook does not offer you insight to all statistics so that you do not use them. Look for trends, analyze the virals, that is, your posts, which were most shared, triggered the most comments and thus had the largest reach. Think about what people were interested in them? What emotions have they provoked? Why did people want to share them? This type of content is the most engaging and gives you a greater reach. If there is no reaction to your post, think about the reason why.
5. Post regularly and at proven times
You have an hour free during the night shift and decide to work a bit on practice’s Facebook. It does not make sense to post at 2 a.m., because there is a small chance that someone else is not sleeping and reading your post. Instead, set the date of publication for tomorrow morning when the fans of the clinic will go to work and browse their Facebook. You can prepare several posts at once in your free time and automatically set new dates. Look into the statistics, experiment, check what times of publication works for you. Do not stick to the statistics found on the Internet. Get to know your customers and find the frame that suits you.
The situation is similar in case of posting too often – for example three posts in a row – you are messing up people’s feed and there is a good chance that they will click “Unfollow”. Ideally, we recommend posting 2-3 posts a week. But not just any post, to tick off. It has to be engaging, informing, arousing reactions – means not just likes, but stimulating comments that you will answer of course;)
You do not have to answer every single comment, you only need to answer comments that contain questions, express an opinion or you have a service inquiry. Try to convince your boss or devote 30-60 minutes every day for management and communication on social media. Remember that social media have to connect and entertain. Too much information and difficult terms will effectively deter your fans. Upload GOOD quality photos and engaging content. If you are unsure, ask someone for a review before publishing. If there is no traffic under your posts – think about why and look at the statistics. Preview what others are doing and learn from them. Put yourself in the shoes of the animal’s owner and think whether he would like to see at practice’s Facebook page mass removals and read about lateral hemilamectomy 😉
Author: Natalia Strokowska DVM MRCVS
1. What to Put on Facebook, Meg Nash, Veterinary Team Brief, Jan/Feb 2013
2. Facebook Tips for Veterinarians, Animal Hospitals, Clinics. Copeland J. Shoptalk for Local Businesses, Dec 2012.
3. Social Media Is Meant to Be Social, Danielle K. Lambert, Veterinary Team Brief, Nov/Dec 2016